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Tuscany Inspired Cookery:
Tuscany was wonderful for many things. As expected we ate exceptionally well throughout the trip and one of the dishes we both enjoyed was stuffed rabbit. We tried this in two different restaurants and each version was slightly different. The first version, which we were served in Radda came with an oniony fruity sauce. The stuffing was very herby but the dish still relied on a wrapping of some kind of ham or lardo to keep it moist
The second version was in a restaurant in Castellina, where the dish was a little simpler and had a bread and mushroom based stuffing with some kind of white wine sauce.
I couldn’t find good rabbit here but wanted to try something similar, so I’ve made my version with pork tenderloin. I’ve also made a rather rich mushroom sauce to accompany it, which would make a great pasta sauce in its own right. And, because I had some, I added some truffles. In my case, this was black truffle carpaccio which I’d already opened and need to use up. If you are really feeling wealthy I’m sure a shaving of black truffle would be perfect…or if you just want the effect, a little truffle oil;)
- 1 pork tenderloin
- 1 banana shallot finely chopped
- 150-200 g mixed mushrooms . I used a few reconstituted dried porcini mushrooms, a few pickled chanterelles and some crimini mushrooms but you could use any mix of earthy mushrooms.
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice if you are not using the pickled mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano or a large handful fresh, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4-5 pieces prosciutto crudo
- 4 tablespoons creme fraiche
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
- 50 g butter
- 100 ml stock or white wine
- shaved black truffle to taste, or truffle carpaccio, or a few drops of truffle oil
- Split the tenderloin lengthwise down the middle and ‘butterfly’, so that you have one flattish piece of meat. Cover with clingfilm and beat out slightly
- Gently fry the shallot and oregano in oil for a few minutes before adding the mushroom mixture and cooking for a further 5-8 minutes till completely soft. Add the lemon juice if you are using it.
- Reserve one tablespoon of the mushroom mix for the sauce then add the breadcrumbs to the remaining mixture and stir through. Check and add a little pepper to taste
- Lay the ham on a board and place the pork on top. Now stuff the tenderloin with the mushroom mixture
- Roll the entire tenderloin up in the ham and either fasten with string or cocktail sticks.
- Cook in a preheated oven at 180c for about 20 minutes
- Remove from the oven and leave in a warm place to rest covered in foil while you prepare the sauce
- Melt the butter in a small pan
- Whisk in the stock or wine and bring to a gentle simmer
- Stir through the creme fraiche and mushroom mixture and heat gently
- whisk in the egg yolk and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens
- Adjust seasoning and add truffle to taste
- Carve the tenderloin into 8-10 thickish slices
- Serve with sauce
I won’t even pretend this is authentic Tuscan cookery. But, it’s inspired by some of the fabulous flavours we’ve had over the last week and it did cheer me up on a wet and chilly London afternoon.